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"Gutes Klassenbewusstsein, Parteiverbundenheit und Prinzipienfestigkeit" : SED-Sekretäre mit NSDAP-Vergangenheit in Thüringen

"Class consciousness, party alignment and adherence to Principles": Thuringian SED party secretaries with a NSDAP past
[journal article]

Meenzen, Sandra

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Abstract "The First and Second Secretaries of the District and County Councils of the East German Communist Party (SED) were the provincial vicegerents of the regime and, thus, belonged to the most powerful exponents of the socialist society. As files from the Berlin Document Center prove, a considerable share of secretaries from counties that nowadays form the German State of Thuringia had been members of the NSDAP before 1945. However, this information is not confirmed by SED party records, foremost of which are the handwritten CVs in secretaries' cadre files. Although an 'automatic' or 'unconscious' 1944 NSDAP enlistment of youngsters has been a common interpretation among historians, new indications raise the questions to what extent the SED deliberately invited young careerists who had a tainted biography and whether or not a mutual agreement of silence and record forgery was made. At least one secretary (who later even became a GDR minister) admitted that he had joined the NSDAP and noted it in his post-1990 memoirs. Most remarkably, the autobiographical writings also refer to an early confession - absolution was received from a merited and elder Communist. It can be argued that the case was not a singularity." (author's abstract)
Keywords historical analysis; communism; biography; party; Federal Republic of Germany; elite; inventory; Thuringia; German Democratic Republic (GDR); GDR research; Socialist Unity Party of Germany (GDR); political elite; elite research; denazification; membership; power; apparatus of domination; integration policy; National Socialist German Workers' Party; opportunism; party secretary; coming to terms with the past
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; General History
Method empirical; quantitative empirical; historical
Document language German
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 47-78
Journal Historical Social Research, 35 (2010) 3
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works